Instant Juice: Syracuse 79, North Carolina 92

The Syracuse bench looks on. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

A quick take on Syracuse’s demoralizing 92-79 loss against North Carolina Saturday afternoon, the penultimate event in the Dome before it closes until September for new roof construction:

WHAT HAPPENED: Playing in front of Super Bowl MVP winners Tom Brady and Julian Edelman of Jim Boeheim’s favorite NFL team the New England Patriots, and comedian Jimmy Fallon (all three guests of Boeheim’s close friend and Syracuse-area businessman Adam Weitsman), and on a day in which Orange great John Wallace (1993-96) had his No. 44 jersey unveiled high above the court, Syracuse came out flat at the beginning of each half, and combined with torrid Tar Heels shooting, made for a long afternoon for the Orange.

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ANALYSIS:  Playing more like the team that was actually ranked as high as No. 5 in the polls in November, as opposed to the team in last place in the ACC standings coming in, North Carolina (12-17, 5-13) lit up the Orange defense from the outside (52% shooting) and scored 15-points off SU turnovers.  The Carolina “D” stymied Syracuse (16-13, 9-9) into a poor shooting game (5-of-21) from beyond the arc.  Buddy Boeheim and Bourama Sidibe were SU bright spots, Boeheim had 22-points, while Sidibe finsihed with an impressive double-double with 17-points and 15-rebounds.

HERO: Carolina freshman guard Cole Anthony was marvelous, lighting up the ‘Cuse defense with 25-points on 7-for-11 three-point shooting, with seven assists and a couple of steals.  Forward Garrison Brooks was also stellar for UNC with a double-double of his own, a game-high 26-points and 14-rebounds.

ZERO: Syracuse dropped its 13th game of the season, and it’s a negative trend.  The only other Boeheim teams that have finished with more defeats have occurred over the last three seasons.  The Orange have to win out (see below) to head into the ACC Tournament with an above .500 record, and win the tournament to be considered for the NCAA field.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse finishes on the road for its final two regular season games beginning next Tues. night, March 3 at Boston College, then heading to Miami.  The ‘Cuse beat BC 76-50 on Jan. 15 in the Dome, and the Eagles (13-16, 7-11) have been off since last Wednesday when they fell at Notre Dame.  Game Time: 7:00 p,m, ET.  TV: ESPN2.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.